By Robert Bridge
The partisan situation in Washington DC has created a scenario where Donald Trump may be forced to do anything to hold on to power, even if that means setting the Middle East – and maybe the entire world – alight.
On Friday morning, the world held its breath as news circulated that the US military had carried out a targeted assassination against senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil.
Soleimani was not killed on the battlefield amid a ‘glorious hail’ of gunfire, but was eliminated in a US drone strike as he was traveling in a car to Baghdad International Airport. In other words, yet another extrajudicial killing carried out by the US judge, jury and executioner in a part of the world few Americans could locate on a map.
As to be expected, the Democrats vented their fury at the killing, demanding to know why Trump had failed to seek congressional permission first. Apparently, Trump’s sworn enemies have already forgotten how Barack Obama set that unfortunate precedent back in 2012 when he indiscriminately bombed Libya back to the Stone Age without first consulting lawmakers.
Equally disturbing, however, is that the assassination was ordered by an anti-establishment American leader who had promised on the 2016 campaign trail to withdraw US military forces from hot spots around the globe. Trump sympathizers, however, could argue that an awful lot has happened in the last four years.
The pressure of partisan politics is showing
Would the United States and Iran be staring down the barrel of mutual mass destruction had Donald Trump not been under constant pressure from the Democrats since entering the White House in 2017?
Although it is exceedingly difficult to excuse cold-blooded murder for any reason, the history books hold many examples of desperate men going to desperate lengths in order to maintain their grip on the gold ring of power.
Consider, for example, the sordid story of former US President Bill Clinton, who was also hounded with the threat of impeachment over the Lewinsky affair.
On August 20, 1998, just weeks before Congress was set to vote on articles of impeachment against the philandering Democrat, Clinton ordered a cruise-missile attack on a Sudan factory on the grounds it was producing nerve gas for al-Qaeda. As it turned out, however, the destroyed factory was actually a pharmaceutical plant that employed thousands.
Werner Daum, the former German ambassador to Sudan, estimated that “several tens of thousands” of Sudanese civilians died as a result of a medicine shortage caused by that US military strike.
Ironically, the Hollywood film ‘Wag the Dog,’ which tells the story of a US president caught in a similar situation as Clinton’s, and the lengths he goes to distract public attention from his plight, was released just months before Clinton ordered the attack.
It appears that Donald Trump, no less than Bill Clinton, understands the ‘rally round the flag’ phenomenon, which says that public support increases for leaders during periods of international crisis or war. Not a very comforting thought, considering that the world is littered with weapons of mass destruction.
Presently, the entire globe is being held captive audience by the 2020 showdown, and the ending doesn’t look too promising. In fact, the rivalry may already have cost Qassem Soleimani his life, while exposing the planet to the risk of a global conflagration. Not the best way to kick off the New Year, to say the least.
Clearly, the American empire is experiencing a deep domestic political crisis that not only threatens the security and well-being of millions of Americans; it threatens the stability of the entire planet.